Voluntary sector grants halved in charities minister's constituency

Rob Wilson has voiced his disappointment over a £1m cut in voluntary sector funding that will affect organisations in his Reading constituency

Part of the Reading East constituency
Part of the Reading East constituency

Voluntary sector organisations located in the parliamentary constituency of charities minister Rob Wilson are facing significant cuts, after Reading Borough Council revealed plans to reduce grants to the sector by almost £1m over the next two years.

Last month, the Labour-run council set out its budget proposals, which included cutting voluntary sector grants from just under £2m in 2015/16, to £1.5m in 2016/17 and to £1m in 2017/18.

The council has now launched a public consultation about the budget proposal, which will run until 16 October.

The parliamentary constituencies of Reading East and Reading West fall within the council boundaries.

Wilson, who is MP for Reading East, said in a statement: "I am disappointed that Reading Borough Council has made the choice to cut voluntary services by £1m over the next two years. I am committed to investing in positive change for the sector across the UK, supporting long-term, sustainable sources of support and finance."

Council leader, Jo Lovelock, issued a statement saying: "We recognise the important role the voluntary sector plays in Reading and have protected the grants budget in the face of enormous financial pressure in recent years.

"However, as a result of the unprecedented reduction in government grant, we have now reached a situation where we will have to make a further £39m of cuts in the next three years and some very tough decisions have to be made."

Reading Voluntary Action, the local council for voluntary service, was unable to provide a comment before publication of this story. 

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